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(76:06, The Cyberiam)
TRACK LIST: 1. Alice in Afterland 8:53 2. Cool Kids 6:59 3. The Fall 5:20 4. Dont Blink 9:47 5. 2020 Visionary 5:46 6. The Historian 8:10 7. My Occupation 8:49 8. Juxtaposer 6:02 9. Brain in a Vat 7:22 10. Nostalgia 8:58 LINEUP: Tommy Murray - drums Keith Semple - vocals, guitars, programming Frank Lucas - piano, keyboards Brian Kovacs - bass, vocals
Prolusion. US band THE CYBERIAM is a fairly new band to the progressive rock scene. From what I can find of information the band started out a couple of years ago, operating out from their home base of Chicago, Illinois. "The Cyberiam" is also the name for their debut album, which was self-released at the start of 2018. I understand the album was also released through Australian label Melodic Rock Records.
Analysis. The Cyberiam is a band that enters the fray into a part of the progressive rock universe where competition appears to be rather steep at the moment. Rather than opting for a more purebred take on any of the main styles and substyles of this universe, The Cyberiam have opted for an approach to mix a small handful of these. As far as pointers go, I'd say that there's a fair bit of Spock's Beard present, alongside details plucked from the likes of, say, Dream Theater and probably also Porcupine Tree. This is a band fond of using contrasts to create nerve and tension, and will in addition focus on those to create strong and compelling moods, atmospheres and melodies. Quirkier instrument details can be found here and there, but doesn't come across as a vital aspect of this blend. Moods and atmospheres is the thing here, as well as a clever use of pace and intensity to offset the more delicate parts of their repertoire. Hence we get songs that alternate between gentler passages revolving around acoustic guitars and piano with darker, grimmer ones driven by dark riffs and and organ or keyboards as a supplemental feature, as well as arrangements that use piano or acoustic guitars as delicate counterpoints to harder riffs, as well as down-mixed guitar riffs used to contrast and create an underlying darkness between passages where the piano or acoustic guitar have more of a leading role. The band opts for compelling and accessible arrangements throughout, and with clear, refined and melodic lead vocals a striking and contrasting element in itself. It all adds up to a well made, fairly modern and strikingly accessible blend of progressive rock and progressive metal. Perhaps not any more striking than many others exploring similar territories, but not any less either. A competent album with glimpses of brilliance here and there, not one that will win massive accolades but a production that will be found to be an enjoyable one, and for the right crowd a precious nugget of gold I would imagine. A fairly high level of competition in this specific field of the progressive rock universe makes it difficult to be a standout band, but there's no doubt in my mind that this is a debut album well worth lending an ear to.
Conclusion. For those who know, love and treasure the bands that have chosen to explore music on the borders between progressive rock and progressive metal, The Cyberiam is another band they can safely add to their list of artists that merits a check. A touch of Spock's Beard, a seasoning of Dream Theater and a sparkling of Porcupine Tree combined into a compelling and accessible whole. A good debut album with promise of more and perhaps even better things to come.
Progmessor: September 30th, 2018
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